The Notre Dame football team stood toe-to-toe with the Ohio State Buckeyes for a half of football, going into the locker room with a 10-7 lead. However, after the break, it was all Ohio State, as they ended up dominating the second half on both sides of the ball.
The result was a 21-10 defeat at the hands of the No. 2 team in the country, and a game that was a real learning experience for some of the younger players. All told, Notre Dame football has some work to do, and here are some takeaways from the loss Saturday night.
Notre Dame football: Takeaways from a tough loss at Ohio State
The Passing Game Wasn’t Enough
I want to start by saying Tyler Buchner played solid for his first start ever for Notre Dame; this isn’t a point to hate on a young kid who gave it his best shot. It is me looking at the disparity between passes thrown and rushes attempted. As mapped out by Michigan and Oregon against Ohio State last year, the recipe for success seemed to be pounding the run game time and time again.
The Irish weren’t able to find much success.
In 30 carries on the evening, the Irish tallied a measly 76 yards, which is an average of 2.5 yards per carry, and their long for any of the four ball-carriers on the evening was 14, I believe a jet sweep by Chris Tyree.
Regardless, that’s not enough to win against any team. Buchner went 10-18 for a total of 177 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions thrown in the game. Simply put, when your offense struggles to move the ball on the ground, the passing game has to be opened up.
While all Notre Dame fans were screaming to either up or, at the very least, keep the pressure high, Rees and company got all too complacent. Tommy is an excellent play-caller, and I expect him to only learn from these situations against the second-best team in the country.
Blame it on execution, play-calling, likely a little bit of both, the passing game needed to show up more than it did last night. The good news is that the season is young, and that’s possibly the best competition Notre Dame will face all year, only up from here for Buchner and the boys.